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Full text of "Memoirs Of Joseph Grimaldi"

INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER

IT is some years now, since we first conceived a strong vene-
ration for Clowns, and an intense anxiety to know what they
did with themselves out of pantomime time, and off the stage.
As a child, we were accustomed to pester our relations and
friends with questions out of number concerning these gentry;
—whether their appetite for sausages and such like wares was
always the same, and if so, at whose expense they were main-
tained; whether they were ever taken up for pilfering other
people's goods, or were forgiven by everybody because it was
only done in fun; how it was they got such beautiful com-
plexions, and where they lived; and whether they were born
Clowns, or gradually turned into Clowns as they grew up. On
these and a thousand other points our curiosity was insatiable, i
Nor were our speculations confined to Clowns alone: they ex-
tended to Harlequins, Pantaloons, and Columbines, all.of whom j
we believed to be real and veritable personages, existing in the i
same forms and characters all the year round. How often have'
we wished that the Pantaloon were our god-father! and how
often thought that to marry a Columbine would be to attain the i
highest pitch of all human felicity!                                        I

The delights—the ten thousand million delights of a panto-
mime—come streaming upon us now,—even of the pantomime!
which came lumbering down in [Richardson's waggons at fair-
a time to the dull little town in which we had the honour to bej
'--'brought up, and which a long row of small boys, with frills as;